Monday, December 20, 2004

Messianic Complexes

Messianic Complexes are usually attributed to people who think that it's their duty to save everyone else. It is said that Spain and America came to the Philippines because of "White Man's Burden", thinking that Filipinos were savages and should be taught to be civilized and Christianized. But that's not the kind of Messianic Complex that I want to talk about. I'm talking about the recipients of that. It's about people who expect someone else to solve their problems, as if everything was out of their hands. Here are some of the common complaints that I hear:

Government: Everywhere around the world, citizens blame their public officials for all their problems. To a certain extent, it is the government's fault. I mean some of them are corrupt, inefficient, or just plain stupid. But the responsibility is not entirely theirs. I mean for one thing, we voted for them. For another, not all government officials are incompetent, and some of them just happen to suffer from either 1) bad luck (i.e. unforeseen events such as Mt. Pinatubo exploding or SARS), 2) bad history (such as the accumulated debts the Philippines incurred over the past few decades), or 3) scapegoats (and Filipinos love to have scapegoats, especially in light of our Messianic Complex). One of the more recent complaints is the rise of the prices of gas. As much as we want the government to reduce prices, in all honesty, they can't. I mean ever since we switched to a market economy (that is the economic forces dictate the price of products), the prices of products are not under the control of the government anymore. If they retain the prices, then the country will go further in debt as there'll be a miscalculation in our budget. The government, after all, can only subsidize so much. And with all the corruption and tax evasion going around, budget is not something they have an abundance of. Do you really think the government wants to raise oil prices? Or want to see the peso depreciate even further? Even corrupt officials will find it advantageous to have the millions of pesos they've hoarded become up to par with international currency such as American dollars or Euro-dollars.

The Rich: Not all rich people are corrupt. Some of them even worked hard for it. I mean at one point in time or another, some of the now-wealthy people were once poor. But they found ways to generate income and invest their money. Henry Sy, for example, was once living a very humble life. As for those who inherited their wealth, if they were idiots, they'd lose their wealth very quickly. If they manage to hold on to it, they must have a certain level of competence at the very least. And mind you, the rich are the ones funding your churches, your charities, and providing jobs. Sure, they're doing that to either make a profit or to get tax exemptions, but still, you can't deny that they're helping a lot of people nonetheless. The wealthy will always be the target of hatred and jealousy. It's not impossible to uplift yourself from whatever economic status you're in right now to eventually becoming rich. It just takes time, hard work, and intelligence (not necessarily an education). And soon, you'll find yourself the target of jealousy and hatred as well. It's easy to blame the rich. It's more difficult to change one's self and learn new things and make sacrifices. Do you really think that if we eliminated all the rich people from the Philippines that the economy will suddenly become okay, and that everyone will enjoy prosperity?

Teachers: When I was still studying in grade school and high school, one of the biggest complaints I hear from my fellow classmates when they get low grades is that their teachers are incompetent. Or boring. Or that the teacher is out to get them. Look, teachers are in a classroom for one reason: to teach. Learning, on the other, is up to the student. It's not the teacher's job to be entertaining (although I'd appreciate such a teacher). And they certainly have a level of competency if the school actually employed them (and I'd like to think that high schools still maintain certain standards). And even if they didn't, you have other tools of learning: you have textbooks, the library, the Internet. I mean I have classmates who go through a whole school year without reading their textbook, expecting the teacher to teach everything that's inside. Well, my only advice is that if the teacher isn't up to your standards of education, start teaching yourself by researching and reading your books. As for teachers out to get you, well, the only thing I can say is that the teacher dislike you as much as you dislike them. It's in their best interest for you to pass. Because if you fail and get stuck, they're the ones who has to stick it out with you, whether it's enduring summer class with you, or enduring another school year with you. Believe me, it's in the best interest of teachers for students they dislike to pass and move on. Teachers get paid regardless whether you actually learn or not. It's only a headache for them if they have to stay for overtime just to lecture you, discipline you, or give you extension classes.

Parents: Some kids grow up thinking that their parents will take care of them forever. I'm one of those people, which is why I was complacent from grade school to college. I didn't have savings, and I didn't have a plan for my life. That was being irresponsible. It's my life, after all, so the only person who should be accountable is myself. If I don't like where I am right now, I only have myself to blame. To depend on my parents, expecting either allowance or an inheritance, is like depending on the government to solve my problems: they try their best, but it's no guarantee. It's not even something we're always entitled to. I know some people who blame their parents for the current situation they're in right now. Or worse yet, use their parents as an excuse not to move on and change. I mean I know people who've come to me and asked my advice on certain subject matters. The person is already willing to do it but in the end, they don't go through with it because they use their parents as an excuse (regardless of whether it's actually valid or not). "My parents don't agree" or "My parents won't allow me". The only advice I have is that you don't own your life if you say those kinds of words. Your parents own your life. You don't have a life. I'm not saying you should disobey your parents. There's a big difference between filial piety and filial slavery. The former is something your parents say, and you agree to do it. The latter is something your parents say, and you don't even think about what's good for yourself: you simply do it because they said so. That's leaving all responsibilty and accountability in the hands of someone else.

Crushes: Perhaps the most popular complaint I hear from people of both genders is when they complain that their crushes don't ask them out. You're leaving your fate in the hands of someone that possibly doesn't even know you. If you're intent on meeting the guy/girl of your dreams, make the first move. I don't mean you immediately ask them out on a date. Take baby steps. Introduce yourself or find a reason to do so. Then the next time, find a reason to talk to them. And then the next time after that, find a reason to get their phone number. If they reject you, at least you did something. They're rejecting you anyway if you never get to actually meet them. Some girls I know even complain that they already know the other person except they want the other person to ask them out on a date. Well, that's being selfish. Why should it always be the guy asking the other person out? Female equality also means equal responsibility. Why are you leaving your fate in the hands of the guy? Go out of your comfort zone! Overcome your fears! If you don't have the courage to ask the other person out (and this goes for guys as well), then you were never meant for each other. Rejection might be painful, but agonizing whether he'll ask you out or not is just as painful, and lasts longer too. There won't be a perfect moment. Make the most out of the moment. You might regret it in the future. There are only two possible situations when your crush isn't asking you out. One is that both of you are shy. And guess what, it's more difficult to change the other person than it is to change yourself! If your crush is shy, then what makes you thing he'll overcome his shyness and ask you out? And if he's as shy as you think he is, then he'll have no reason to reject you. I mean if opportunity comes knocking his way, even if you're not exactly the most beautiful person in the world, having a girlfriend beats being single, at least in the eyes of a shy person. The other possibility is that you're shy, and the other person isn't; he's just not interested in you. If that's the case, well, at least now you know. Welcome to life! It won't be the last time you'll get rejected, but at least it's the first time you've conquered your fears.

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